Main content

Injury blows won't force big Don to go back

Cale Hooker expects to start as a forward against Adelaide - AFL,Essendon Bombers,Cale Hooker
Cale Hooker expects to start as a forward against Adelaide
I've played all last year as a forward and trained as a forward all pre-season so I think you'll see me starting down there
Cale Hooker

CALE Hooker expects to stay up forward for Essendon despite the Bombers losing another defender to injury for their season opener against Adelaide.

Patrick Ambrose has been ruled out of Friday night's clash at Etihad Stadium after breaking his wrist at training.

The 26-year-old will undergo surgery on his fractured scaphoid bone and is expected to miss a month of football.

Match preview: Essendon v Adelaide

It comes as another blow to an already-depleted Bombers backline ahead of their meeting with last year's grand finalists.

Half-back Martin Gleeson is facing four months on the sidelines after having surgery on his injured foot while Mitch Brown (adductor) and Aaron Francis (personal leave) are not yet available.

Michael Hartley looms as a likely replacement for Ambrose but the Bombers could see Hooker as a temporary fix.

An All Australian defender in 2014, Hooker was deployed up forward last season and booted 41 goals.

"I've played all last year as a forward and trained as a forward all pre-season so I think you'll see me starting down there ... (but) I'm happy wherever ," Hooker said on Tuesday.

"Obviously Patty's an important player for us and we know we're going to miss him. I think he's out for about a month.

"Hopefully we can get him back pretty quick but until then, I'm not sure (about the backline mix). That's what the coaches will work out."

Orazio Fantasia (knee) and Travis Colyer (foot) are the other members of Essendon's best 22 who will miss the start of the season.

Darcy Parish trained on Tuesday and is expected to play round one despite being sent for scans earlier in the week.

Adelaide have their own injury issues as they seek redemption from last year's grand final loss to Richmond.

Skipper Taylor Walker and midfielder Riley Knight will both miss Friday night's game with foot injuries, while on-baller Brad Crouch has been ruled out with an abdominal strain.

The Crows have dominated the Bombers recently, winning their past four encounters by an average of 76 points.